On Wednesday, Andover Girls Basketball earned its first win of the season with a strong 50-30 victory over Groton.
“I think we came into the Groton game with a whole new attitude,” said Emma Kelley ’17. “It was our first home court game, which gave us a new motivation.”
Bailey Colon ’18 added, “We definitely picked up the intensity and the enthusiasm and worked as a team instead of as individuals.”
The implementation of a 2-2-1 press allowed Andover to gain both offensive and defensive momentum. Gadson Lefft ’15 and Kelley hit three 3-pointers each and scored 18 and 12 points, respectively.
“The team’s offense was generated by their defense, especially in the first half, because of the press that we actually instituted for the first time this game. They forced a lot of turnovers that led to a lot of points,” said Assistant Coach Christopher Jones.
Andover held a comfortable 34-12 lead at halftime, an improvement from its previous games when the team was constantly behind.
“We’ve talked in practice on Tuesday about starting off the game strong, not starting in the middle of the first half or in the second half. We executed that perfectly today. We got ahead early, and that’s why we ended up succeeding in the long run,” said Kelley.
Captain Cara Cavanaugh ’15 added, “In the previous games, we worked together near the end of the game, but it wasn’t sustained throughout the whole game.”
With contributions and playing time from each team member, the Groton game was truly a team effort.
Cavanaugh continued, “The balance of points — since a lot of people scored instead of just a few people scoring — I think really shows how well we work together.”
Over Winter Break, the team struggled at the Rivers Tournament. In the three games that the team had over break, Andover lost all by small margins, falling to Rivers 44-33, to Northfield Mount Hermon (NHM) 66-61 and to Taft 46-36.
Andover faced Rivers in its first game of the Holiday Tournament. The team proved that it could compete with Rivers, a notoriously strong team.
“I don’t think Rivers thought we deserved to be on the court until we actually got in the game and made them understand we [weren’t] the same team [as last year] and that they were going to have to play their best to beat us,” said Lefft.
Andover trailed by a few points at halftime and maintained a steady level of play throughout the second half. However, the team was never able to pull away and overthrow Rivers’ lead.
“It was a great team effort,” said Laura Bilal ’17. “We kept it close with a great team, and we will face them again this season.”
Against Taft, Andover fought with determination during the second half in the hopes of closing the gap in the score.
Guard Sarah Humes ’16 said, “In all of our games this season, we’ve played better in the second half, so that was the case in the Taft game.”
“We shut down their three-point shooter and worked hard on defense,” she continued.
Andover’s game against NMH in December also demonstrated the team’s cohesiveness.
“The vibe in the whole gym was electric,” said Lefft, who scored a total of 20 points.
“Everyone played their best possible game, everything was clicking and everyone contributed something. We had enthusiasm, which is something we don’t have consistently,” she continued.
After competitive tournament play and an exciting win at home, Andover’s record stands at 1-5. The team is ready to take on Choate this Saturday.